The government gives extra funding to schools where there are pupils who qualify for a Free School Meal. Whether a pupil qualifies for a free school meal or not is the indicator as to whether extra funding is available and given to the school. Therefore, it is vitally important that all parents who are eligible for a Free School Meal (FSM) register to make sure your child and others in their class don’t miss out.

The purpose and outcomes of this extra funding can be viewed by visiting the Pupil Premium web link.

If you want your child to have a free, healthy meal at lunchtime that’s great. They will get the free meal, saving you more than £350 a year as well as securing the extra funding for Holy Trinity.

If you do not want your child to have the school meals even though they qualify, they can continue as normal – as long as you qualify and are registered we will still receive the funding. It is therefore the responsibility of parents to make the claim in order to ensure that pupils at Holy Trinity are able to access the provision made possible by the extra funding.

In the past there has been either a stigma attached to applying for free school meals or the process has been too complicated to follow. This is not the case now as the school has introduced on-line checking of the qualification for FSM and has introduced a system of paying for school meals which does not identify those on free meals.

To enable a quicker, more efficient and safer way of paying for school meals, we recently introduced a system of Cashless Catering. This allows pupils to add to their accounts by paying funds into the cash machines in school. It also automatically credits pupils on free school meals (FSM). Pupils are identified at the dinner counter by a fingerprint and their meal is deducted from their account. It is not possible any more to distinguish between pupils on FSM and others. In the past, parents have rather misguidedly failed to claim a free meal because of a perceived stigma in doing so. This no longer is an issue.

To check if you qualify – it is not just if you are unemployed, please look at the list below. Registering is really quick and easy.

Do you qualify?

You can register your child for Free School Meals if you get any of these benefits:

·       Income Support

·       Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

·       Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

·       Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

·       The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit

·       Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income that does not exceed £16,190

·       Working Tax Credit ‘run-on’ – the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has revealed that total spending on education will fall by 13.4% between 2010 and 2015. If this happens it would have a devastating effect on the plans we have to build upon the improvements we have achieved in recent years. Maximising our use of the ‘Pupil Premium’ will go some way to helping us counter such cuts to our budget.